A fair few of my friends and close acquaintances have told me that going on this trip and trying to help the camp that I love so much is inspiring. As flattered as I am, I can't help but feel slightly off about this comment. I think it is the ease of using the word "inspiring" these days or the disbelief that what I'm doing "just because" could be inspiring. Because, honestly, I don't think of what I'm doing as an inspiring thing. I'm just doing what I've wanted to do for years.
|Abe and Reid - the creators of Portage To Camp|
The word inspiring is defined as"causing people to want to do or create something or to lead better lives" Thanks Marriam-Webster Dictionary. The "want" is the key here. Not necessarily to DO anything, but to WANT to do things. I think that is what throws me off when people say that too. I think inspiring means it makes people DO things, but looking back I realize that there are many WANTS before someone can get to the DO. Sometimes it takes many inspiring adventures before someone finally goes.
It has got me thinking about this whole idea of inspiration and I even had a bit of a disagreement with my mom about what makes someone inspiring. This conversation was not actually triggered by my trip but about a comment I made about Abe living an inspiring life in many ways. The conclusion, really, was that when people live unabashedly the way they want, they inspire others to let go of their fear and restraint. It also interested me to think that if I truly inspired these people who say that they are inspired by what I'M doing that actually means that the people who inspired me actually indirectly inspired my friends.
|Allison on the AT being inspiring|
So I'd like to give a HUGE thank you to Allison Kieley, who I haven't made aware of her influence yet, for inspiring me. She started thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail a couple years ago/1.5 years ago (timing?) and really rocked the prep work and getting sponsors and I was inspired. I had the stirrings of a dream I had had for many years to do a thru hike and she unknowingly reminded me of that. On top of that she totally provided me with the confidence to reach out to companies that I love for sponsorship (Duluth Pack ,Vigilant Eats Super Foods). In fact, I was told by an artist friend of mine that my, rather minimal, sponsorship was inspiring to him because that's what he has wanted for his art. So Allison actually triggered this little inspiration waterfall and I'm sure she had inspiration that triggered her.
And perhaps my trip will inspire others to raise money for Warren or organizations they love and those people will inspire others to do the same. Or perhaps it will get them really dreaming about getting out on a long hike and reconnecting with Nature. And maybe they will, maybe they won't. I do believe that the more of us who learn to live without fear of living the way we want will inspire more and more people to do the same. There are many people who inspired me to let go of fearing things like discomfort, unfamiliarity, lack of control, etc. and I hope I can do the same for others along the way.
These are the kinds of ripples we leave behind that allow us to feel immortal. At least until the sun engulfs the Earth ;)